Who am I?

My photo
I am not religious, but I don't mind calling myself spiritual. Religion, I believe, has, over the millennia, been used as a prop to perpetrate a lot of human suffering. Faith is what matters. I don't believe in the definition of God as a creator. According to me, my God resides within me. Some call it conscience, some call it the sub-conscious, some call it the soul. I don't mind calling it God. So by definition I am not an atheist or an agnostic, but by essence, I may as well be. My God does not reside in a temple, church, mosque or gurudwara. It is right here, within me.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Hidden Hype of Hypocrisy

Recently, I could not help but come to terms with a realization that made me shudder with contempt for my own species. Though it also made me peep into myself and realize a characteristic of my nature - one which is a subset of the universal nature of all of homo sapiens. The realization I talk of has made it clear to me that every human being is tinged - or inundated, as could be the case - with a deep rooted and outwardly imperceptible predilection towards hypocrisy. I do not, for the record, keep myself out of this superset. And the proof of this is omnipresent, if we care for a good hard look around. If we define hypocrisy as "an expression of agreement that is not supported by real conviction", then are we to believe that whenever we say one thing while having in mind the other, we are not embodying the odious essence of this very word? No, a judicious fellow like yourself would reply, we are not to believe that. In fact, if we indulge in this kind of lip service, we are truly being the paragon of hypocrisy, you would add. But wait, let me complete what I have to say. How many times does it happen with each one of us when we truly want one thing, or are following a certain train of thought, but end up saying something quite different - due to varied reasons like fear of appearing impudent or brusque in manners, not feeling close enough to our company at that moment to spell out what we truly feel or out of respect for our elders lest they be appalled and hurt by our extreme outspokenness? If we do it for the sake of smooth functioning of the society, you would say, then its raison d'etre is acceptable enough and it would not be bracketed under hypocrisy. But who are we to decide whether the reason for putting up an appearance by a certain person is good/bad without compromising our sense of objectivity? Should we be audacious enough to believe that we won't bring our prejudices into play if we appoint ourselves as the decider of the good reasons versus bad reasons when there are examples galore in the whole of history to prove that right/wrong is wholly subjective?

So my question is - is it not hypocrisy when we put up a false face, for any good/bad reason whatsoever, and say something, which is quite distinct from what we actually had been thinking? If we were to stick to the semantics, this is exactly what hypocrisy is defined as. Why, even great writers have withheld the publication of their autobiographies until after their demise for fear that the outspokenness of it would hurt and injure the people who were close to them and who inevitably found an honest mention is the journals. (Mark Twain is a case in point here, who had left instructions to release his 5,000 unexpurgated pages of memoirs a 100 years after his death. The 1st part of the trilogy hit the stores in November 2010. A widely believed reason for him keeping his personal life under wraps for so long is that the time lag prevented him from having to worry about offending friends). And there are many others who dilute the harsh mention of relatives and close friends. Surely, this action of propriety should not be classified as hypocrisy. Thus one has to definitely draw a line. But then again, won't drawing a line be tantamount to bringing the subjective into play? Won't your line be different from my line?


  1. The cool question is, Why do you think hypocrisy is bad ? Why is it wrong for a son to say something to his ailing dad to make him feel good ? And how does one define good or bad ? If one is being hypocrite for his self interest, even that cannot be categorized as bad ! Then why would you feel contempt for human race?
    Its said human mind is like an ocean, if you start spilling everything, there would be flood all over! if self interest is not bad (being in moral bounds, and moral, being subjective, we stick to being legally bound) hypocrisy cannot be termed bad, or can it ?

    At times hypocrisy as you see it is merely an utter confusion in one's mind too. What is someone is just not defined. why is feeling scared to admit such a state of ones mind, in front of public termed bad ? Why does one have to be strong?


  2. I would admit that the genesis for this chain of thought was exactly what you pointed out - utter confusion in my mind! I have been thinking about this face of pretense that we put up all too often in public. Sometimes it's odious, at other times it seems like order of the day. And many times, something you cannot do away with. Utterly necessary. I don't look down on hypocrisy, especially after these thoughts; in fact I wanted to contest and question the very interpretation of hypocrisy that is prevalent in our society today. In bringing out this moral dilemma, my major intent was to show "hypocrisy" in a positive light and make people think over their perceptions, which are most often black or white. There are always grey areas, is what I intended to bring to light.

    And I placed the "contempt for human race" at the beginning of the article, because that is where I felt it in my line of thinking - at the beginning. Writing is like revelation to me - as I write along, I discover new thoughts which would be as new to me as they are to you, the reader, if not more. So what I said at the beginning, I might contend that very thought or disprove it or explain it to myself towards the end of the writing.

  3. I personally do not like hypocrisy because it takes courage to be away from it. I think strength is a single most important virtue, without which, no virtue can stand the test of time. So i try to be away from it. I know i too act like one, at times just to make sure I don't end up hurting anyone (which is again illogical from a perspective).
    But finally I think its the motive. If one can be happy with the guilt that comes (at least that's what I feel if I act like a hypocrite without a proper motive), he is free to. But one should know what he wants, what makes him happy.

    I guess... when once we begin to question things ( which we should), we should begin to question everything. Though I know its not possible, but any assumption which is used without respect to logic can lead to a conclusion which is harmful (or at least its not convincing). Bad and good are subjective I think, therefore we have laws.. and laws are enough for a violence free society.. but is it good for an amiable society? ( this is somewhere my confusion between objectivism being an atheist and objectivism being a religious guy.)

  4. Hypocrisy is inbuilt in human behaviour. Each one of us, at one stage or the other, has behaved in a typically hypocritical manner. It at times reflects the instinct of lack of clarity about our own objectives, faiths, beliefs and behaviours. Most of the times, such a behaviour is involuntary and triggered by the sub-conscious mind. Many a time it is circumstantial as well.
    I feel voluntary and repeated hypocrisy should only be detested.But if one chooses to be so, can we help it? Just consider such a person as an integral and representative part of this awfully hypocrite society that we are part of.

  5. @Pranay : I came across one book named "Why is everyone (else) Hypocrite " . see if you can get it